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D&D 5E "....as if you were concentrating on a spell"

Where in the 5e rules is "supernatural" defined as "not actually magic"?

3e had that as a keyword on types of abilities - I don't recall that being the case in 5e. So, this sounds like your personal interpretation, rather than a fact of the game for everyone.

No, before you jump the gun, the distinction is contained in the rules.

https://media.wizards.com/2020/dnd/downloads/SA-Compendium.pdf

On Page 20:

Is the breath weapon of a dragon magical? If you cast antimagic field, don armor of invulnerability, or use another feature of the game that protects against magical or nonmagical effects, you might ask yourself, “Will this protect me against a dragon’s breath?” The breath weapon of a typical dragon isn’t considered magical, so antimagic field won’t help you but armor of invulnerability will.
You might be thinking, “Dragons seem pretty magical to me.” And yes, they are extraordinary! Their description even says they’re magical. But our game makes a distinction between two types of magic:
• the background magic that is part of the D&D multiverse’s physics and the physiology of many D&D creatures
• the concentrated magical energy that is contained in a magic item or channeled to create a spell or other focused magical effect
In D&D, the first type of magic is part of nature. It is no more dispellable than the wind. A monster like a dragon exists because of that magic-enhanced nature. The second type of magic is what the rules are concerned about. When a rule refers to something being magical, it’s referring to that second type.
Determining whether a game feature is magical is straightforward. Ask yourself these questions about the feature:
• Is it a magic item?
• Is it a spell? Or does it let you create the effects of a spell that’s mentioned in its description?
• Is it a spell attack?
• Is it fueled by the use of spell slots?
• Does its description say it’s magical?
If your answer to any of those questions is yes, the feature is magical.
Let’s look at a white dragon’s Cold Breath and ask ourselves those questions. First, Cold Breath isn’t a magic item. Second, its description mentions no spell. Third, it’s not a spell attack. Fourth, the word “magical” appears nowhere in its description. Our conclusion: Cold Breath is not considered a magical game effect, even though we know that dragons are amazing, supernatural beings.

Dragons (and their breath weapons, and ability to fly) are supernatural things, and part of the background 'supernatural physics' of the world (like constructs moving about, or ghosts existing, or beholders hovering). But the game rules makes a distinction between 'supernatural' and overtly 'magical'.

Applying the above rules to Pact Weapon class feature:

• Is it a magic item? No, it only counts as one for the sole purpose of resistance and immunity - not for any other purpose.
• Is it a spell? Or does it let you create the effects of a spell that’s mentioned in its description? - No
• Is it a spell attack? -No
• Is it fueled by the use of spell slots? -No
• Does its description say it’s magical? -No

Neither the ability of the Warlock to summon the pact weapon, nor the weapon itself is magical. Supernatural for sure, but not 'magical'.

Note the difference between the Warlocks 'Pact Weapon' class feature and the Eldritch Knights 'Weapon Bond' class feature. The latter EK ability is magical (because the feature states it is magical in the description of the class feature), and the Bond does not work (and is suppressed) in an AMF.

Pact Weapon on the other hand, is not magical, and is not suppressed.
 
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Just like a Dragon can breathe fire in an AMF, or a ghost can flit through one, or a beholder can hover in one, or a construct can wander through one, a Warlock can summon a pact weapon in one, and that weapon retains its ability to overcome resistance and immunity to non magic weapons (even though its not actually a magical weapon).

Supernatural stuff, but not magical.

Different from 3.5 where (Su) abilities were suppressed in an AMF. Now they're not. A side effect of Mystra's reforging of the Weave post Second Sundering if you want fluff reasons for the change.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
No, before you jump the gun, the distinction is contained in the rules.

https://media.wizards.com/2020/dnd/downloads/SA-Compendium.pdf

I don't think Sage Advice counts as "the rules". It is sometimes useful rules apocrypha.

What they write there seems pretty reasonable. But if I pick up the actual rulebooks, I find the word "supernatural" used all over the place, including within spell descriptions.

I agree that the game has some vague distinction between the magic a wizard uses and other abilities, within the rulebooks it is not clear cut. I think there's a judgement call involved, so that two reasonable GMs may see it quite differently.
 

And a Bladelock can summon one in an anti-magic field just fine, and its ability to bypass damage reduction also is not suppressed in such a field.

In your face Demi-liches.

It is not a magic weapon (unless it also is one via being transformed by the second part of the feature) and summoning it is not a magical ability.

Supernatural for sure (like a Dragons breath or a Beholders ability to fly). But not 'magical' for rules effects other than 'counting as magical' for two specific purposes (overcoming resistance and immunity).

I would say that it could be summoned, but it would no longer overcome the damage reduction.

It counts as a magic weapon for overcoming damage reduction. However, as -in that circumstance- the type of weapon it could hypothetically count as (magical) would not work, something which counts as being that type (in that circumstance) would behave as the type of weapon (magical) it is said to count as. That is to say, for the purpose of overcoming resistance it is in effect "magic," with all the pros and cons associated with that for that particular situation.
 

I don't think Sage Advice counts as "the rules". It is sometimes useful rules apocrypha.

What they write there seems pretty reasonable. But if I pick up the actual rulebooks, I find the word "supernatural" used all over the place, including within spell descriptions.

I agree that the game has some vague distinction between the magic a wizard uses and other abilities, within the rulebooks it is not clear cut. I think there's a judgement call involved, so that two reasonable GMs may see it quite differently.

It is clear cut, and it was the stated intent to distinguish between 'magical' effects (for game rules purposes) and everything else. Special abilities and effects that are magical (for game rules purposes) expressly have the words 'magic' or 'magical' in them.

For example, if I were to homebrew a class feature called 'Bolstering Voice' and the descriptive text said:

You call out to a creature you can see and that can hear you within 60'. That creature can magically heal 4d6 hit points...

The ability is magical, and would not work in an AMF.

If I left out the word magically from the descriptive text, then the above ability would work in an AMF and would not be considered 'magical' for other game rule purposes. Seeing as the word 'magic' or 'magically' appears in the text, it's 'magical' and is treated as such by the rules.

Look at the Demilich and its abilities. Some of them are magical (Cloud of Dust, Vile Curse, and Energy drain) however its Howl and Life Drain abilities are not magical and function just fine in an AMF.

Instead of using 3.5's (Ex) (Su) and (Sp) as descriptors, 5E uses 'plain language' in the text of the ability to expressly describe what is 'magical' and what is not.

A Warlocks Pact Weapon class feature is not magical (for games rules purposes) other than overcoming resistance and immunities. It (and the weapon it summons) are not 'magical' and are not affected by an AMF or similar.

Ditto a Dragons breath weapon, its ability to fly, an inorporeal ghost flitting around the place or any one of thousands other things that are clearly supernatural, but not 'magical'.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I'm now convinced that this is the case.

And that's a problem.

On its face, at 3rd level the ability lets you do 2.5 extra damage....per round....if you hit that target at least once in that round. So less than 2 per round given that you might miss.

This is not much at all.

Then...it only lasts for one minute...twice per day.

That makes it worse.

But that's not the real horror.

The real horror is this: while you are benefitting from this less than 2 points per round, it actively prevents you from benefitting from half your other ranger abilities! The vast majority of ranger combat spells are concentration spells, and since Favoured Foe does so little for you that you'll use your spells first, all it really does is give you a tiny boost if you've already run out of slots.

If this was meant to fix the ranger, it failed!
The fact that Favored Foe is a crappy feature is not evidence against concentration working consistently between spells and non-spells.
 

I would say that it could be summoned, but it would no longer overcome the damage reduction.

You can rule however you want, but the RAW (and RAI as clearly expressed in Sage Advice) is neither the summoning, nor the base weapon itself are 'magical' for rules purposes (other than 'counting as' magical for the sole express purpose of overcoming damage reduction and immunity).

The ability could state: As an action, you magically summon a weapon... this magic weapon is...

It doesn't say that (and uses very specific different wording), so RAW (and RAI) neither the weapon, nor the ability to summon it is the sort of 'concentrated magic' that counts as magical in the RAW.
 

You can rule however you want, but the RAW (and RAI as clearly expressed in Sage Advice) is neither the summoning, nor the base weapon itself are 'magical' for rules purposes (other than 'counting as' magical for the sole express purpose of overcoming damage reduction and immunity).

The ability could state: As an action, you magically summon a weapon... this magic weapon is...

It doesn't say that (and uses very specific different wording), so RAW (and RAI) neither the weapon, nor the ability to summon it is the sort of 'concentrated magic' that counts as magical in the RAW.

Yes, it counts as magic for overcoming damage reduction.

In a situation where magic does not function, the summoned weapon can be summoned because that aspect of it does not count as magic. At the same time, as described, it functions as magic for overcoming damage reductions. It seems logical to me that that one specific aspect of the weapon -for which it counts as magic- does not function in a situation where magic does not function.

Edit: Further thoughts - If I carry a magic sword into a zone where magic does not function, the sword does not cease to be a sword; the magic part of the sword's function simply does not work while in the zone. In the case of the pact weapon, the method by which the warlock carries the weapon into the zone is different, but I believe the end result should be the same and remain consistent.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
It is clear cut...

That's not the relevant bit, though. I asked about in the rules. You gave me Sage Advice.

The difference is whether you should state it as Teh Trvth! or as what seems to you to be a really good way to work with it, given the ambiguity in the rules.

What you've laid out is a reasonably consistent way for a GM to call it, which is great. But I see nothing compelling about it that suggests that a GM would be unreasonable to decide differently, and nothing about calling it differently that breaks the system.
 

cbwjm

Hero
For me I think that summoning the pact weapon would be magical and therefore not be able to be summoned in an anti-magic field. Summoning something is too magical an effect for me to rule otherwise. If they summon the blade outside the field, not a problem, it sticks around. It might no longer count a magical though for overcoming damage reduction, or it might if I consider it to be something like green steel which can overcome damage reduction without being magical.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
For me I think that summoning the pact weapon would be magical and therefore not be able to be summoned in an anti-magic field. Summoning something is too magical an effect for me to rule otherwise. If they summon the blade outside the field, not a problem, it sticks around.
Summoned objects disappear in an antimagic field

Creatures and Objects: A creature or object summoned or created by magic temporarily winks out of existence in the sphere. Such a creature instantly reappears once the space the creature occupied is no longer within the sphere.
 

Summoned objects disappear in an antimagic field

Creatures and Objects: A creature or object summoned or created by magic temporarily winks out of existence in the sphere. Such a creature instantly reappears once the space the creature occupied is no longer within the sphere.

From which book is that? I'm asking because I don't know.
 


It's in the spell description for antimagic field

Thank you.

Regarding the pact weapon:

As described, it is not summoned. It is created in the hand of the warlock.

"You can use your action to create a pact weapon in your empty hand. You can choose the form that this melee weapon takes each time you create it. You are proficient with it while you wield it. This weapon counts as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage."

I'm not convinced that an antimagic field would prevent that.

It appears that the weapon exists in some sort of extradimensional space. Personally, I'm inclined to say that spells/effects which block dimensional travel would prevent the function of the pact blade, but I'm not convinced that antimagic would.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Thank you.

Regarding the pact weapon:

As described, it is not summoned. It is created in the hand of the warlock.

"You can use your action to create a pact weapon in your empty hand. You can choose the form that this melee weapon takes each time you create it. You are proficient with it while you wield it. This weapon counts as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage."

I'm not convinced that an antimagic field would prevent that.

It appears that the weapon exists in some sort of extradimensional space. Personally, I'm inclined to say that spells/effects which block dimensional travel would prevent the function of the pact blade, but I'm not convinced that antimagic would.
Antimagic Field does block interdimensional travel.

Magical Travel: Teleportation and planar travel fail to work in the sphere, whether the sphere is the destination or the departure point for such magical travel. A portal to another location, world, or plane of existence, as well as an opening to an extradimensional space such as that created by the rope trick spell, temporarily closes while in the sphere.


Any way you slice it, pact weapons can’t manifest in an area affected by antimagic field by RAW.
 

Antimagic Field does block interdimensional travel.

Magical Travel: Teleportation and planar travel fail to work in the sphere, whether the sphere is the destination or the departure point for such magical travel. A portal to another location, world, or plane of existence, as well as an opening to an extradimensional space such as that created by the rope trick spell, temporarily closes while in the sphere.


Any way you slice it, pact weapons can’t manifest in an area affected by antimagic field by RAW.

Would this mean that items inside a bag of holding cannot be retrieved while in an antimagic field?
 

It appears that my initial thought was wrong, and (I think) items inside of a bag of holding would not be accessible. The bag would function like a normal bag, but the magical opening to the extradimensional space couldn't be used.

Interesting...

That prompts a few ideas concerning how a few basic items could be used offensively.
 

cbwjm

Hero
Summoned objects disappear in an antimagic field

Creatures and Objects: A creature or object summoned or created by magic temporarily winks out of existence in the sphere. Such a creature instantly reappears once the space the creature occupied is no longer within the sphere.
I guess I'm thinking of the summoned object being a physical thing that existed elsewhere and has been brought to the hand of the warlock rather than something created specifically by magic. If it was something they had to concentrate on then I might say it winks out of existence but I wouldn't say it does in the case of a pact magic weapon. In this instance, I consider it something like the bonded weapon of the eldritch knight, it's just that the armoury the warlock is drawing upon might be on another plane of existence.
 

Al'Kelhar

Adventurer
Would this mean that items inside a bag of holding cannot be retrieved while in an antimagic field?
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